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Upside-Down Apocalypse: Grounding Revelation in the Gospel of Peace


A peacemaker’s guide to the book of Revelation

The book of Revelation—which deals on a cosmic scale with good and evil, politics and empire, community and eternity—has intrigued and frustrated readers since it was written. How do we make sense of John’s prophetic vision of cosmic war in light the nonviolence Jesus embodies in the gospels? What does it mean to tell us about Jesus, our world, and the future of all things? As End Times conspiracy theories surge, it’s more important than ever that we read the final book of the Bible without distorting the true message of Jesus. 

In Upside-Down Apocalypse, author Jeremy Duncan draws on biblical scholarship and nonviolent theology to guide readers through the book of Revelation, understanding the vision of John in the light of the Jesus we know through the Gospels—the full revelation of the Divine. Along the way, readers will discover what the writer imagines as he weaves this profound revelation of non-violent triumph and see with fresh eyes how the Prince of Peace turns violence on its head once and for all.



Review by Publishers Weekly

In this refreshing exegesis, pastor Duncan (Dirt and Stardust) interprets the Book of Revelation through the peacemaking teachings of Jesus. The author grounds Revelation in its historical, literary, and cultural context, exploring “the way God is revealed to us” through Jesus’s nonviolence. Filling in historical background, Duncan notes that Roman emperor Domitian engaged in the sporadic and inconsistent persecution of Christians at the time John wrote Revelation, and explains that John gives the seven churches different advice because they had experienced different treatment under Domitian’s reign. Duncan provides shrewd readings of some of Revelation’s “out-there” imagery and notes that the four creatures covered in eyes in the throne room scene draw on Near Eastern literature’s tradition of using eyes to represent wisdom and right vision. The author suggests that Revelation’s “violent imagery” actually promotes nonviolence, and he posits that the bloody “sword” Jesus wields while riding the white horse actually refers to Jesus’s words: “Victory is won not with weapons, war, or force but through the testimony of nonviolence.” The straightforward, no-frills analysis builds an accessible, cogent case that John lays out a more hopeful vision than is traditionally assumed. The result is a thought-provoking look at Revelation. (July 2022)

About the Author

Jeremy Duncan is founding pastor of Commons Church in Calgary AB Canada, one of the fastest growing church plants in Canada. He lives in Calgary with his partner Rachel, their dog, and their two adopted kids. Jeremy holds a Bachelor of Theology and received a Master of Arts in Biblical/Theological Studies writing about non-violence and the work of René Girard. You can connect with Jeremy at and find more about the Commons community at

Review & Commentary